UND ended its three-game losing streak and four-game winless streak with one of its best performances of the season Saturday night. Coach Dave Hakstol said he’s starting to see some good chemistry on the four lines. The top two lines have played together for several games now and the bottom two were sparkplugs Saturday. Hakstol said he was very pleased with the play of Chris VandeVelde and his line.
Looking back on the weekend:
Offense: A-. The eight-goal weekend blew away what UND did the previous two weeks. Three goals weren’t enough to win Friday, but most nights, they should be enough. On Saturday, the Sioux were buzzing almost all night.
Defense: B. The defense struggled moving the puck Friday night, Hakstol said, and didn’t have a strong, consistent game. Saturday night, however, the Sioux held Colorado College to 17 shots on goal. You have to go back to the Matt Greene-led D-corps of 2004-05 to find a performance that dominating.
Goaltending: B+. Philippe Lamoureux was solid in his first action in more than a month. Lamoureux probably would like Colorado College’s third goal Friday night back — a shortside goal from the bottom of the circle. But Lamoureux made a fantastic stop on McCulloch minutes earlier, kicking out his leg during a goal-mouth scramble. The lone CC goals on Saturday were tip-ins.
Fourth line: A. When UND marched to the Frozen Four during the past two seasons, the third and fourth lines were big contributors. It’s hard enough for teams to have to contain the T.J. Oshie’s, Ryan Duncan’s and Jonathan Toews’. When guys like Darcy Zajac, Rylan Kaip and VandeVelde are chipping in — physically and offensively — this team is tough to slow down.
Atmosphere: C+. The crowds were solid both nights for the students being absent (more than 10,000 each night). That being said, I think everyone missed the band and, of course, the cowbell guy.
Review of the three keys
1. Hold CC’s top line players — Scott McCulloch, Chad Rau and Jimmy Kilpatrick — to one goal per game. Fail/Pass. Colorado College moved Derek Patrosso to the top line for Kilpatrick this weekend. On Friday night, UND failed on this goal and lost the game. On Saturday night, UND passed and won the game.
2. Don’t get beat in the second period. Pass. In one of the big highlights on the weekend, UND corrected its second-period struggles. The Sioux scored in the second each night and held the Tigers without a second-period goal on the weekend.
3. Be on the positive side of the special teams battle. Pass. UND was +1 for the weekend. The Sioux weren’t on the positive side Friday night (it was even) and lost. Saturday, the Sioux scored the lone power-play goal and held the Tigers’ fourth-ranked power play scoreless.